British racer Jack Hawksworth continued his sensational start to the 2012 Star Mazda Championship by taking his second victory in successive meetings for Team Pelfrey at Barber Motorsports Park.
Bradford-born Hawksworth began his first season stateside in style with a victory at the opening rounds at St. Petersburg and he headed to Alabama with a ten point championship lead. While he headed into St. Petersburg on the back foot, having not testing there previously, Hawksworth headed to Barber with testing experience there under his belt, putting him in confident mood of extending his championship lead over the weekend.
21 year old Hawksworth put in a strong performance during practice on Thursday, but was plunged into the unknown when the rain fell for qualifying. The BRDC Rising Star didn't let it faze him though and despite it being the first time he had driven the car in the wet, Hawksworth stuck it on pole. The races took place two days later under sunny skies and the opener saw Hawksworth storm away to take a comprehensive victory, almost seven seconds ahead of his closest rival.
Hawksworth enthused: “I had an awesome car underneath me, and I pushed really hard over the first few laps to open up a gap. I was able to manage the pace really easily, and after that, it was just a case of making sure I looked after my tyres and bringing it home.
“Everything came together perfectly, and we were the quickest on every single lap. It was a very different race to the one I had won at St. Petersburg, which had been repeatedly broken up by caution periods and safety cars – and to win by the margin that we did just underlines the great job the team did to give me such a good car.”
Fastest lap in the opener gave Hawksworth pole for race two, however a few set up tweaks failed to pay off and this cause him to lose ground early on, before fighting back to pressure the leader over the closing laps, ending up second.
The next meeting takes place in just under two months' time and is the first of two consecutive oval outings, the 'Night Before the 500' meeting at Indianapolis, taking place just 24 hours prior to the Indy 500. TORGEON Swiss brand ambassador Hawksworth holds a 29 point championship lead into the meeting and is bullish about his prospects looking ahead.
Hawksworth concluded: “It's really nice to go into the break with a decent points advantage. It's a great feeling. I think anybody would be happy with the start to the season we've had; two wins, two second places, three pole positions and four fastest laps – it doesn't get much better than that, and it's a good confidence-builder as well.
“We've got a group test at Lucas Oil Raceway which will hopefully allow me to get up-to-speed. Oval racing will definitely be a challenge for me and another new experience, but from what I've heard, it's a lot of fun! Team Pelfrey had a really good record on oval courses last year, too, so there's no reason why we can't go into them with as good a chance as anybody else.
“The team and I are just over-the-moon about our performance so far, but we know we still need to keep working as hard as we can. The minute you start taking the results for granted, they'll stop coming. Fortunately, Team Pelfrey is a very professional organisation, and even though the level of competition in this series is very high, I'm confident that I'll have a winning car every time I roll out on-track.”